Road Sweepings Started First Spectators’ Bank
The Spectators’ bank was first raised by road sweepings supplied by the Fulham Borough Council, who paid the Club a “shooting” fee per load. The contractor was at this time removing material from the Shepherd’s Bush Bank Tube working, from where it was dumped at Craven Cottage to meet the required level and to complete the slopes.
The playing pitch was near completion when difference of opinion arose between Club and the contractors resulting in legal proceedings. To meet the expenses of these, a public meeting of the Clubs’ supporters was held and the money guaranteed by various friends.
One outstanding contributor was the late Mr. W. Pullen of the Richmond Hotel, West Brompton, who generously lent £120 free of interest: the Club won it’s case, and another meeting was convened to return the various sums of money to the many subscribers. This took place at the Richmond Hotel, when an illuminated address was presented to Mr. Pullen for his great kindness in lending the said sum.
The first game on the new ground was Fulham Reserves versus St. Mary’s Recreation. The match was well supported, and the Fulham Reserves won a very close game by the odd goal. The Club had a successful season in the newly-formed London League and the gates of between 4,000 and 5,000 were quite a common thing at First Team games.
The following is the side that represented the Club in many of their Cup and League fixtures in their first season at the Cottage: J. May; T.W. Shrimpton, H. Shrimpton; Pearce, Jackson, Churchill; J. Shrimpton, Witheridge, Bennett, Grimmond and Robertson. It will be seen that there were no fewer than three Shrimpton brothers in this eleven, while Jim Shrimpton, who was captain of the Swan Brewery Club (commonly known as “The Bungs”) assisted the Club on many occasions. Subject to any other claims, for four brothers to turn out for one team seems to be a record.
It may be another record that each of these four brothers served as the Club’s secretary during their membership, and the elder brother, Tom was captain of the Club for many years.
There were many “Bands of Brothers” who did yeoman service for the Club before professionalism was adopted, but more of that later.
When the club gave up the tenancy of the Ranelagh Club’s old ground at Putney Bridge, dissension arose among the members, and several of the First Eleven threw in their hands and formed a new club under the name of “Colton F.C” with headquarters at the “Colton Arms”, West Fulham; but this club had a very short existence.
The members who did stick to the old colours were principally second team players. They continued to carry the Club’s programme and re-organise themselves to suit the circumstances. The club then had no regular or settled playing pitch or accommodation, and prior to going to Barn Elms, the committee made their headquarters in Haldane Road at the home of the Shrimpton brothers, and thus it remained for a number of years.